Air Force Selects ILS' Atlas V For Space Test Program Mission
McLEAN, Va., 10-JUN-04 -- International Launch Services (ILS) has received authorization from the U.S. Air Force to begin integration of the Space Test Program-1 (STP-1) mission on the Atlas V rocket, scheduled to launch in September 2006.
This multi-payload mission will launch seven separate satellites and perform a series of on-orbit maneuvers to deliver these satellites to their respective orbital locations.
By giving the go-ahead, the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center is making a firm commitment to launch one of 18 missions assigned to ILS and the Lockheed Martin-built [NYSE: LMT] Atlas V rocket under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Program. Thus far the Air Force has converted five of those assignments into confirmed missions.
The DoD Space Test Program, located at Detachment 12 of the Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M., is responsible for the integration of the STP-1 mission. The two-part Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency payload for the STP-1 mission, the Orbital Express spacecraft, will be integrated in the prime satellite location atop the EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA), which was developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, also located at Kirtland. The ESPA will be populated with five smaller satellites. The STP-1 mission will launch from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The orbital operations of this mission will demonstrate the robust capability of the Atlas V launch system and the Centaur upper stage as well as the unparalleled integration and mission design expertise of the Atlas launch team, said ILS President Mark Albrecht. We're proud that the Air Force has placed confidence in the Atlas V to perform this cutting-edge mission for the DoD Space Test Program Office.
The Atlas family of vehicles has achieved 72 consecutive successful launches spanning nearly 11 years, for a mix of government and commercial customers. The most recent Atlas launch was on May 19, with the AMC-11 satellite. Another Atlas mission is scheduled for June 30 with a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.
The Atlas V vehicle is designed to lift payloads up to 19,000 pounds to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). Lockheed Martin developed the Atlas V vehicle to meet Air Force EELV requirements and for ILS commercial missions. The Atlas V vehicle has flown three commercial missions since its debut in August 2002, all successfully.
ILS markets and manages government and commercial missions on the Atlas rocket to customers worldwide. The company is headquartered near Washington, D.C. The Atlas rockets and their Centaur upper stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Denver, Colo.; Harlingen, Texas; and San Diego, Calif.
ILS has established itself as the indisputable launch services leader. The Atlas rocket’s demonstrated reliability and launch rate capability has made it the vehicle of choice for highly critical missions. In addition to the five EELV launches, Atlas V has two scheduled launches for NASA, for a total of seven firm Atlas V missions for the U.S. government. For more information, visit www.ilslaunch.com.